Three quarters of gay singles (76% gay women, 72% gay men) looking for a long-term partner think that “if two people really love each other, they should get married or enter a civil partnership”, according to the Looking for Love poll. The proportion for straight singles is lower: of those seeking a relationship, fewer than 3 in 5 straight singles (59% of men, 57% of women) want to tie the knot.
The online survey, believed to be one of the largest of its kind, asked almost 100,000 UK-based singles – gay or straight and all looking for a relationship: i) what most attracted them to a potential partner; ii) why a relationship was important to them; and iii) if and how they hoped to formalise a relationship. Looking for Love was conducted by gay-PARSHIP.co.uk, Europe’s largest serious dating site for gay men and women; in the UK it now has almost 200,000, all attracted by its unique psychometric compatibility test and a methodology which ensures that you are only matched with people who are genuinely right for you.
Over 18,000 UK same-sex civil partnerships were formed in the first 12 months from the inception of the ceremony in December 2005 and the end of December 2006 - around 16,800 of them in England & Wales. 2007 figures become available later this year. In England & Wales alone, heterosexual marriages fell by 10% in 2005 (the most recent year available for ONS stats), to around 244,700 - the lowest annual number since 1896!
Whilst between a half and a third of searching singles of all sexual orientations (50% straight women, 44% gay men, 44% gay women, 34% straight men) have “no definite idea about the form a wedding or partnership should take”, more straight than gay singles “definitely want some kind of formal ceremony” (29% straight women, 23% straight men, 21% gay women, 20% gay men). Conversely, more gay than straight singles say “a legally-binding contract is all they are after” (18% gay men, 14% gay women, 12% straight women, 10% straight men).
Whether tying the knot or not, gay male singles are almost twice as likely as straight male singles (30% gay men, 16% straight men) to “set greatest store by friends being pleased about my choice of partner” (the figures for women are 25% of gay women, 24% of straight women). Conversely, straight female singles are more than twice as likely as gay female singles (29% straight women, 14% gay women) to “set greatest store by my family’s approval of my choice of partner” (vs 15% for straight men and 11% for gay men). Between a third and half of all searching singles (53% straight men, 47% gay women, 46% gay men, 35% straight women) claim they “really don’t care what family or friends think about my choice of partner”.
All searching singles - gay or straight, male or female - are looking for the same attributes in potential long-term partners: first, “warm-heartedness” (79% gay women, 78% straight women, 74% gay men, 74% straight men); second, “attractive appearance” (54% straight men, 53% gay men, 49% gay women, 39% straight women); and third, “health and vitality” (43% straight men, 40% gay men, 40% gay women, 37% straight women). All searching singles - gay or straight, male or female - cite the same reasons for desiring a relationship: first, “life being easier when shared” (62% straight men, 61% straight women, 60% gay women, 57% gay men); and second, “needing someone who can be trusted and relied upon completely” (49% straight women, 48% gay women, 47% gay men, 46% straight men). Other motivations included: wanting financial or emotional security, not wanting to miss out on a regular sex life, not wanting to spend leisure time alone or not wanting to grow old alone.
“These results show that singles, be they gay or straight, have clear priorities in what they're looking for from a relationship: someone they can trust, depend upon and share their life with. There were remarkable similarities between the gay and straight singles surveyed, yet the data also suggests that the gay singles surveyed are especially likely to believe in formalising such a relationship with a civil partnership, although not necessarily with a formal ceremony.” gay-PARSHIPS’s Looking for Love poll also throws up some more idiosyncratic angles:
Gay singles are slightly less likely than straight singles to consider “a shared bedroom a must” (71% gay women, 72% gay men, 78% straight men, 79% straight women). In fact, gay singles are slightly more likely than straight singles to prefer “separate rooms, so long as at least one room is set up for spending the night together” (29% gay women, 28% gay men, 22% straight men, 21% straight women).
More straight women than gay women (55% vs 44%) believe “absolute sexual fidelity is a must, without exception”. When it comes to men, there is less disparity between straight and gay (40% vs 38%), which means there is a 15% gap between straight women and straight men when it comes to staying faithful. One in five male singles (21% straight, 20% gay) think “being true in your heart is much more important than physical fidelity” (vs 18% gay women; 14% straight women).